On the evening we went on the Discover Jasper Wildife tour with Sundog, someone so wanted to see a moose. She must have manifested it, because while driving we found this moose and calf just off the road.
I no longer have Covid, but even doing a few photos is tiring. It will be a while before I am back to normal, but it does feel good to feel better.
We hit the jackpot on the evening Discover Jasper Wildlife tour. I went with Sundog Tours and our driver knew where to find the animals. We got off the bus a couple of times to take photos of scenery and each other, and hear from our well-informed driver the history of the park but never when there was wildlife in close proximity. We observed wildlife from the safety of the bus.
We were lucky to observe a Momma Black Bear and her two cubs. Momma was focused on eating while the cubs cavorted around the grass close by. It looks like she needs to gorge herself in order to get enough fat on her body to sleep through the winter.
Our presence on the bus did not bother the bears one bit, so we got to watch them a long time. Sometimes she would tear a strip off a log and show one or the other youngsters how to take advantage and get some good treats. I took lots of photos.
I so enjoyed seeing Jasper National Park from the perspective of the Athabasca river courtesy of Jasper Raft Tours. Not a whitewater trip, but a float, which allowed me to bring my camera as well as a bag for when we hit small rapids and got some splashes.
I have been lucky the past two years and taken a mini vacation in my own province for three to five days each. I have surgery this fall, September or October, and will be laid up for a bit, so it became very important to get away again this summer and I spontaneously responded to an e-mail ad from VIA Rail and booked a train to Jasper. Guess what! I missed the train-got mixed up on day and time-imagine my shock and dismay! Re-booked another train and now I have it clear in my head that I go to the station tonight, Friday and board the train at 00:01 Saturday morning. The ticket agent was very kind and accommodating and I was not charged any fees for the re-booking. I cancelled the return trip because I still wanted 5 nights away and managed to book a shuttle home with Sundog Tours next Thursday. I had to change to two hostels, instead of one, but did get accommodation! That is a near-impossible feat in high season in Jasper.
I do not have a car and it was too late to book one, so I signed up for three tours, two of which I had to change days due to missing the train. One tour company will pick me up at my accommodation and the other one will meet me downtown, not far away.
All photos in this post are from 10 years ago, let’s see what I come up with this year. Packed batteries, charger and an extra SD card. More to be revealed.
The difference between a watch and a warning, is that a watch is a “possibility” of severe thunderstorms with a “possibility” of heavy rain, hail, and even tornadoes. A warning means it is coming and that you should take cover. Tonight and last night we had notifications of a severe weather watch. In the middle of the province the land structure seems to lend itself to wild weather and further south, in Calgary, they get more hail than anywhere in the world. The weather people even sow the clouds to reduce the size of hail from tennis ball size to smaller than golf balls. It still can cause millions of dollars in damage.
The town of Sundre did get a tornado last night and there were reports of funnel clouds and touch-downs in a couple of places further south. It is that time of year when we get severe thunderstorms and I am going to share some photos that I took after looking outside my window last night that made me take notice starting around 8 p.m. and clearing after 10 p.m.
The building that I live in sponsored a day trip to Peaceful Valley Guest lodge. The lodge overlooks a beautiful valley which the Battle River snakes through, southwest of Edmonton and is for day use only and exclusively for groups of seniors and/or disabled people. It is owned by Parks Alberta and first bought by a senior couple who left it for other seniors to use. You must book ahead to come here.
It was a great trip on the private bus from which we saw huge ominous-looking thunderheads but we evaded a real rain other than spitting a couple of times. While there, we had a BBQ.
As soon as we arrived, some went inside the lodge to chat and visit while a few of us went outdoors to explore and go birding.
I heard and saw some American Gold Finch, White-throated Sparrows and a Common Shrike but could not focus on them. Great Grey Owls and Red-tailed Hawks have been spotted here, as well.
The caretakers, who are volunteers, give free tours on a large golf cart on the loop around the property, stopping to explain a species of plant, or catch a view, which I also went on shortly before we departed for the return trip home. That was a day to remember, my favourite outing!
I missed these the other day, but discovered them last night. According to another concernd birder, they have been at the pond for 5 days. So cute! There was no sign of Momma last night, so I worry about their survival. This other woman was circling the pond, guarding the ducklings, chasing off any potential predators. I do hope that they haven’ t been abandoned. There were 7 at last count, with a couple already being picked off by magpies and dogs.
I like going to the pond, it is only 2 blocks away. I discovered a new pair of ducks there, apart from the Mallards, These Lesser Scaups come regularly but I do not think that they are nesting here. Like me , they like to “hang out” once in a while. I have also seen a pair of American Wigeons, but only once.
The resident Red-winged blackbirds are still here. the male has his perches around the pond, keeping guard. The young ones must have hatched by now or close to it.
I have seen a pair of Mallards here too, but no recent pictures. When I was driving by with a friend one day, we saw them on the sidewalk beside the road. There are visits by the bachelor boys too.
Now that I have my mind on them as I write this post, I may meander over to the park to see who is there.
I know we have passed the mark of the longest day of the year, when we got 17 hours of daylight, but there are still some glorious sunrises and sunsets to be seen. I can’t believe I wake up this early, but even before the light hits the drapes, I am savouring the sounds of first, the Robins, then the Gulls and finally the Crows, reminding myself that they will not be here for much longer, and I will miss them when they are gone. The orange glow on my drapes inspires me to get up, find my camera and take photos of the sky. Then I have a choice whether to stay up or go back to cuddle under the covers.
First, the sunrises:
And now for the sunsets…
It is not hard to become a sky watcher when there are so many amazing displays to see. I can’t believe that I am up so early in the morning, but the glow on the drapes is irresistible- I must get up and see what is going on outside. Hope you enjoyed these images.